Like a bunch of lemmings, Republican lawmakers in Congress and across the country have clung to Donald Trump's Big Lie that the only reason he lost the 2020 election was because it was riddled with fraud.
Of course, Trump never once proved a single instance of fraud in 60-plus trips to the courthouse, and he also helped ensure the massacre of at least half a million Americans due to the pandemic, so there's that.
But instead of being willing to admit what's plain as day to anyone with a brain and a pulse, GOP lawmakers tout Trump's Big Lie in conservative media and then run from reporters representing every news outlet that has a shred of integrity left.
"In Washington, normally chatty senators scramble to skirt the question, " writes The Washington Post.
Of course, there's also the very public rift in the House GOP leadership between Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who yet again on Monday reiterated the truth that Joe Biden was the rightful winner of the election.
"The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system," Cheney tweeted, in what amounts to GOP apostasy these days.
But the question is: Why? Why did McCarthy retreat from saying Trump "bears responsibility" for Jan. 6 to being a total Trump bootlicker? Why are chatty senators dodging reporters on Capitol Hill?
The answer comes at the state level, where wackadoodle Trumpers continue to worship the Orange Menace despite the fact that he hasn't been able to provide a shred of evidence for a single one of the conspiracies he's spewed. In a lede that is just beyond parody, the Post writes:
Debra Ell, a Republican organizer in Michigan and fervent supporter of former president Donald Trump, said she has good reason to believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
“I think I speak for many people in that Trump has never actually been wrong, and so we’ve learned to trust when he says something, that he’s not just going to spew something out there that’s wrong and not verified,” she said, referring to Trump’s baseless claims that widespread electoral fraud caused his loss to President Biden in November.
Ell, a Republican precinct delegate, has reportedly been working feverishly to oust the Michigan Republican Party’s executive director, Jason Cabel Roe, for daring to admit the truth: Trump lost fair and square.
“He said the election was not rigged, as Donald Trump had said, so we didn’t agree with that, and then he didn’t blame the Democrats for any election fraud,” Ell complained. “He said there was no fraud — again, that’s something that doesn’t line up with what we think really happened — and then he said it’s all Donald Trump’s fault.”
Well, that was clearly too bitter a reality pill to swallow for Ell. Of course, she doesn't appear to have provided any evidence whatsoever for her errant beliefs other than, ‘Trump said so.’ And, as she stated, "Trump has never actually been wrong" outside of the 30,573 lies he told during his four-year term. (Honestly, Trump lied at a mind-boggling pace—almost like he'd been training his whole life for that epic four-year stint.)
Anyway, Ell is not alone. Salleigh Grubbs, the newly elected chair of the Cobb County Republican Party in Georgia, is equally as certain of Trump's win because all the Republicans in her social circle say it's so.
“There’s no Republican that I know of, that I’ve spoken with, who has come to me and said, ‘Biden won fair and square,’ ” Grubbs said. Except for maybe the Republican state elections officials and GOP Gov. Brian Kemp. They all say that.
“I absolutely do believe that there were irregularities in the election. I absolutely believe that our voices were shut out," she said.
Sure enough—when you're wrong and you can't provide any evidence of "irregularities" over the course of three separate recounts in your state, then people have a tendency to "shut out" your voice.
Anyway, these are the geniuses to whom people like McCarthy have relinquished control of the party. A lot of it probably has to do with the regularity with which threats—and death threats, in particular—get hurled at anyone with a foot in reality.
In Iowa — after telling a local newspaper that Trump should be impeached for his “atrocious conduct” in egging on the Jan. 6 attacks — Dave Millage was called a “traitor” and forced to step down as chair of the Scott County Republican Party. In Missouri, the state Republican Party’s executive director, Jean Evans, resigned from her term several weeks early amid angry and threatening calls from Trump supporters, who urged her to do more to help Trump hold on to the White House after his loss in November.
Of course, Republican lawmakers have been dumbing down their voters for decades, and the monster they helped create is what has now come to life.
“It feels like this has been happening in the Republican Party for a really long time,” said Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University. “If you allow an entire contingent of your caucus to be steeped in conspiratorial thinking, what . . . do you think is going to happen? They’re going to turn on you.”
And before you know it, the pitch forks are headed your way.